With the Mazda RX-8 being pulled from the European market for its rotary engine’s inability to pass the new Euro-5 emissions standard, we should have guessed that its days were numbered in the US market as well. Perhaps the fact that the model is one of our favorite enthusiast options available in the US made us hope against hope that it would soldier on a bit longer. No such luck. According to Motor Trend‘s “well placed source at Mazda’s North American Operations,” the RX-8 will be phased out “most likely after the 2011 model year.” And probably not just for the obvious fuel economy or capacity-utilization reasons either: RX-8 sales peaked at 23,690 units in 2004, and have been in steady decline ever since, moving only 2,217 units last year.
But, the MT guys remind us that we shouldn’t give up all hope just yet:
Does this mean Mazda is giving up on rotaries? No. Remember that North American sales of the RX-7 ceased in 2002, a full two years before the RX-8 made its debut. Mazda’s market-by-market wind down of RX-8 sales may indicate a shift of resources towards the long rumored return of the RX-7.
Here’s hoping Mazda comes back with a worthy successor in 2013.